Provincial Update - December 2017
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.  And he shall be called 
Wonderful,  Counselor,
the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

As Franciscans, we have a proud and wonderful heritage, especially when it comes to the celebration of the feast of Christmas.
Our friars have been intimately linked to the  sacred shrines of the Holy Land, including the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem,  and this year we are celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the Franciscan  presence in the Holy Land.  
Just think of the great privilege bestowed on our order, to keep these sacred places safe and holy for all the world through the Custody of the Holy Land.
Another great tradition that we've inherited from Saint Francis is that of the Christmas manger, as seen in the beautiful story of St. Francis at Greccio.  We know how much St. Francis loved the poor Christ, the humble Christ, the Christ born of Mary in a stable.  
We are finding that Christmas is becoming more and more a secular feast,  a holiday rather than a holy day. It is an opportunity for people to get rich through sales, or purchasing gifts, making this season a shoppers' festival rather than a religious celebration.  This is why it is so important for us not only to emphasize the religious nature of Christmas, but also to promote it in any way possible.  After all, it falls on Christians-  those who believe in Christ- and especially on all Franciscans- to promote Christmas as a religious feast.  We cannot expect those who do not believe to do this, but it is incumbent on those who believe that Jesus is Lord and that Christmas is the celebration, more than anything else, of the birth of the Savior. 
I want to wish all of you a very Happy and Holy Christmas.  May the sacredness of this season permeate everything we do, so that the message of the Christ Child may be seen through an increase of charity and peace in our world.  
                                          Wishing you also a blessed and happy New Year.

Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM
Provincial Minister

Saint Francis at
It happened, three years prior to his death, that he (Francis) decided to celebrate at the town of Greccio the memory of the birth of the Child Jesus with the greatest possible solemnity, in order to arouse devotion. So that this would not be considered a type of novelty, he petitioned for and obtained permission from the Supreme Pontiff.

He had a manger prepared, hay carried in and an ox and an ass led to the spot. The brethren are summoned, the people arrive, the forest amplifies with their cries, and that venerable night is rendered brilliant and solemn by a multitude of bright lights and by resonant and harmonious hymns of praise. The man of God stands before the manger, filled with piety, bathed in tears, and overcome with joy.

A solemn Mass is celebrated over the manger, with Francis, a levite of Christ, chanting the holy Gospel. Then he preaches to the people standing around him about the birth of the poor King, whom, whenever he means to call him, he called in his tender love, the Babe from Bethlehem.

A certain virtuous and truthful knight, Sir John of Greccio, who had abandoned worldly military activity out of love of Christ and had become an intimate friend of the man of God, claimed that he saw a beautiful little child asleep in that manger whom the blessed father Francis embraced in both of his arms and seemed to wake it from sleep. Not only does the holiness of the witness make credible the vision of the devout knight, but also the truth it expresses proves its validity and the subsequent miracles confirm it. For Francis' example, when considered by the world, is capable of arousing the hearts of those who are sluggish in the faith of Christ. The hay from the crib was kept by the people and miraculously cured sick animals and drove away different kinds of pestilence. Thus God glorified his servant in every way and demonstrated the efficacy of his holy prayer by the evident signs of wonderful miracles.
Thomas of Celano
First Life of St. Francis of Assisi
Chapter XXX

Sr. Annette Seiter, OSF, retires after many years of service  to St. Anthony Church NYC

The community of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan gathered on Saturday,  December 2, to say farewell to Sister Annette Seiter, OSF, a Franciscan Sister of  Allegany, who is retiring to the motherhouse in Allegany NY after 47 years of ministry  at St. Anthony's.  Sr. Annette held positions in the parish school for many years,  and most recently has been Director of Religious Education.  

A beautiful farewell  liturgy was celebrated at the parish 5PM Mass.  Friar Patrick Boyle, OFM, Provincial  Vicar and former pastor of St. Anthony's, was the main celebrant and ho milist.  Friar Patrick spoke lovingly about the difficulties of moving, of letting  go, and of the generosity of Sr. Annette through the years.  Even more than her  work at the parish, Sr. Annette always gave great witness to her Franciscan vocation  by being a true disciple of the Lord.  Friar Patrick used packing boxes placed in  front of the altar as a visual expression of all the love and care Sr. Annette takes  with her on this difficult journey from a place that has been her home for so many years.  

Many of the parishioners and her former students came out to celebrate Sr.  Annette's life, to wish her well, and to express their appreciation for her.   Present  were Friar Mario Julian, OFM, current pastor; Friar Joseph Lorenzo, OFM; Friar Paul  Rotondi, OFM; and Friar Daniel Morey, OFM; former pastors of St. Anthony's;   Friar  Chuck Trebino, OFM; Friar Vincent Ciaravino, OFM; Friar Dominick Porier, OFM; and  Friar Courtland Campbell, OFM; all of whom served on the staff of St. Anthony's  at one time or another.  Many of Sr. Annette's family and fellow Allegany Franciscans  joined in the celebration.  A social was held in the parish hall.  Sr. Annette will  be greatly missed.

The Final Jeopardy Answer Is:
On Mond ay, November 13, 2017, the Franciscans finally made the big time- being a  category on the television g ame show "Jeopardy" as one of the categories featured  in their Tournament of Champions edition.  The following are the answers to the various categories under "Those Darn Franciscans" in Double Jeopardy.
$400-  In their efforts to convert local tribes, the Franciscans built 21 of these in California.   (What are the missions?)
$800- 13th Century Italians in Mongol lands included Marco Polo and John of Monte Corvino, first Archbishop of this capital.  (What is Beijing?)
$1200-  Hey Bobby- from the habits they once wore, a Franciscan order of Britain and Ireland is known for this color friars.  (What is grey?)
$1600- St. Anthony of Padua eventually got back his book of Psalms, making him the patron saint of these. (What are lost things?)
$2000- Like Dominicans, Franciscans are this type of order known for poverty. (What are mendicants?)


Many of the friars remember very fondly our seminaries in Andover and Troy.  These buildings have been sold by the Province and have been razed to make room for new facilities.  Here's a step back through Memory Lane.

St. Francis Seraphic Seminary, Andover MA

St. Francis Seraphic Seminary, Andover MA

Current Seminary Property

Former Poor Clare Property
Seminary Construction

Immaculate Conception Seminary, Troy NY

Immaculate Conception Seminary, Troy NY

Construction of seminary addition.  
Razing of Troy Seminary

New dormitories at former seminary site for 
Hudson Valley Community College. 

Video of the razing of St. Francis Seminary, Andover.  This video was taken by a neighbor of the seminary and it is difficult to watch. 

Fortieth Anniversary of
The Dwelling Place of NY
On November 12, 2017, a Mass was celebrated in thanksgiving for the Fortieth Anniversary of The Dwelling Place of NYC.  The Mass was celebrated at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Manhattan, and followed by a reception in the church hall.  The Dwelling Place is a residence for homeless women founded in 1977 by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.  Sister Nancy Chiarello, OSF, one of the founders of the ministry and its Director for many years, grew up as a member of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan.  The Dwelling Place has been a home to about 3,000 homeless women since opening its doors on Oct. 4, 1977 with a mission of "leading women from homeless to home."
The Dwelling Place, which has included members of 10 religious orders on its staff over the 40 years, is located in the former convent for St. Clemens Mary parish on West 40th Street in Manhattan. The building is owned by the Archdiocese of New York, and The Dwelling Place is a Catholic Charities agency. The Dwelling Place has 14 beds, with a 10-person staff and 12 volunteers. On average, a resident will be back on her own in 6 to 12 months. 

On December 5, 2017, postulant Louis Franciose,  who graduated this past May from St. Anselm's College and forged a close relationship with the Benedictine monks of St. Anselm Abbey decided to leave our postulant program and pursue a vocation in the Benedictine order.  While we here at Immaculate Conception Friary are sad to see him go, we, at the same time, are happy for Louis who has now embraced a new vocation as a Benedictine monk.  Let us all keep him in our prayers as he now begins this new chapter of his life.  

Postulants Visit New York City Area
From December 11th  to December 14th, the postulants went on a fraternal visit to New York City. Upon arriving at the Curia, the postulants were warmly welcomed by Father Patrick. 

The first stop was to meet Father Jim Goode who provided the postulants with a magnificent overview of the work of the missions and of the ministry, Solid Ground. Father Jim conveyed to the postulants that we are all missionary disciples of Christ . He went on to describe the ministry of Solid Ground which provides for the poor and marginalized of society a place for refreshment, a place for comfort and a sense for hope as well as a space to provide stability and growth towards a better life grounded in Christ. The message offered by Father Jim was well received and was moving for each of the postulants.

The postulants then went on to meet with Father Mario and Brother Chuck at St. Anthony's Shrine Church. Father Mario gave a wonderful tour of the church and pointed out many of the beautiful aspects of the church in addition to its vibrant Franciscan history. Father Mario also shared some of his own experiences as he journeyed through his Franciscan life, sharing what it meant to him in becoming a Friar. 

The second day started off at the Franciscan Mission Associates where the postulants were greeted by Brother Madeline and Brother Angelo. The postulants were then treated to a grand tour of the whole organization, from the mail sorting and amazing letter machines to the donor relations front line workers to the top floor where the computers are housed. The wonderful work of the FMA was thoroughly explained by Madeline. Words cannot capture the magnitude of the work that occurs at and through the FMA. The postulants were able to catch a glimpse of the beauty of FMA's ministry. Following the tour, the postulants along with their formators, had lunch nearby with Madeline and Brother Angelo. 

The postulants were fortunate enough to also visit Our Lady of Peace parish on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The diversity and richness of the parish was on full display and was well described by Father Orlando. The teamwork between Father Orlando, Father Joaquin and the sisters at the parish clearly reflect the unity and diversity of cultures and traditions found within this vibrant parish community.

The postulants as well as the formators spent a day building fraternity by touring several sites in New York City. Amongst them the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and Fifth  Avenue department store windows. The highlight of the day, however, was attending the noon mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral with Father Ron and Father Bruce as concelebrants. The principal celebrant, Father O'Connor, acknowledged the postulants during the prayer of the faithful and asked them to raise their hands, to which the postulants were greeted by the congregation with a round of applause as they also prayed for their continued success in their vocation.

The vast scope of ministries during this fraternal visit to New York City was appreciated and recognized by the postulants. The diversity of ministries and community life in the province provided a well-rounded experience and a solid glimpse into future possibilities.  The hospitality of Father Provincial and Father Patrick was valued by the postulants and the formation team.

We thank Father Provincial and Father Patrick and all who helped to make our trip such a memorable experience. 
The Postulants. 

Christmas at Immaculate Conception Friary, Boston

Visiting with Fr. Provincial and Friar Patrick at the Provincial Curia

FMA Offices
St. Anthony's NYC

Rockefeller Center


Our Lady of Peace.

St. Patrick's Cathedral Manhattan NYC

Friars Ronald and Bruce concelebrate at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Welcome Friar Victor Treminio Trujillo, OFM.
Friar Victor, a simply professed friar, formerly a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province in Central America, has joined our province. He spent the month of August at Our Lady of Peace Church in Brooklyn, and now is living at the Convento San Francesco in Rome while studying at the Antonianum. On December 7, he renewed his vows at the Convento. Friar Antonio Riccio, OFM, received his vows. Welcome to the Province, Friar Victor. 
Friar Victor with   Friar Antonio Riccio, OFM
Friar Victor Renews Vows

Vocation Discernment Weekend Held in Canada
Friar Conrad Fernandes, OFM, Director of Vocations for Canada, held a Vocation Discernment Weekend at Saint Francis Centre for Religious Studies, Caledon, Ontario, on November 17-19. Two young men discerning a call to the Franciscan life attended. Friar Conrad was assisted by Friar Pierre Farrugia, OFM, and Friar Peter Furgiuele, OFM.  Friar Pierre gave a talk on Saint Francis and the San Damiano Cross. Please refer anyone interested in a vocation to the Franciscan life to Friar Conrad or Friar Bruce Czapla, OFM, Vocation Director for the United States.

Pope Francis Meets with
 the Franciscan Family

On November 23, 2017, our Holy Father Pope Francis met with representatives of the Franciscan Family- receiving members of the three First Order communities, and the Third Order Regular, held in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis referred to the order's name- Order of Friars Minor- as an essential part of our religious life- being not simply religious brothers, but minor brothers. Pope Francis reminded the friars that the term "minor" came from St. Francis' desire to make Christ known to others as one who stripped himself completely of all earthly possessions in order to give himself entirely to God. As God made Himself poor in the person of Jesus Christ, so too Francis made himself poor, so to emphasize the special relationship we as Franciscans have with our God. The meeting with Pope Francis was attended by the Ministers General of the Friars Minor, Friars Minor Capuchins, Friars Minor Conventuals, and Third Order Regular. One of our friars from Convento San Francesco in Rome, Friar Victor Treminio, OFM, also attended. 
Pope Francis asked the friars to enter into a dialogue "with all of creation," both praising God for His creation, and having a particular care for it. "Collaborate with various initiatives for the care of our common home," the Pope said, "always keeping in mind the strict relationship that exists between the poor and the fragility of the planet, between the economy, development, care for creation, and the option for the poor."

Friar Victor with Pope Francis
Francis and Franciscans

Pittsburgh Regional Meeting

Friars from the Pittsburgh Region met to celebrate
the Feast of the Immaculate Conception  on Monday, December 4.   A business meeting was held followed by a great dinner  at a local restaurant. In attendance were Friars Rick Martignetti, Alexis Anania,  Dennis Arambasick, Vit Fiala, and John-Michael Pinto.  The Pittsburgh Region consists  of two friaries- Saint Pamphilus in Pittsburgh and Mount Alverna in Youngstown,  Ohio and several other friars in special assignments.  

Shower for Mary at St. Anthony's NYC
Each year since 1986, on December 8, in conjunction  with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  the  Shrine Church of Saint Anthony of Padua, NYC,  holds its "Shower for Mary."  The  Shower for Mary is a means by which the women of the parish can assist worthy charities  that have as their primary focus the aid and comfort of women and children.   At  the offertory of the Mass, the women of the parish bring down their gifts, many  of them beautifully gift wrapped, and these are  placed on tables in the sanctuary.  The Shower for Mary is a wonderful opportunity  for the parish community to affirm life, especially when it comes to aiding pregnant  women and teens in bringing their pregnancy to term.  Arrangements are made after  Mass to bring the gifts to the charity.  This year's recipient was Good Counsel Home, which was founded in 1985 by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, to help homeless pregnant women in need.  
Parishioners bring gifts to the altar for the Shower for Mary

        Saint Leonard Church,North End, 
   Being Rededicated
The rededication of the newly-renovated St. Leonard Church in Boston will take place  on Sunday, December 17, at the 12:00 Noon Mass.  The main celebrant will be Cardinal  Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston. Friar Antonio Nardoianni, OFM, the  Pastor, has extended an invitation to all the friars to attend and be part of this  joyful celebra tion of one of the province's oldest ministries.  For friar-priests,  please bring an alb if you wish to concelebrate.
The multi-million dollar renovation consisted of restoration of the stained glass  windows, renovation of church frescoes, replacing the wooden floor with a white porcelain floor.  Plaster work has been restored, and new wiring installed along  with new ceiling light fixtures.  The former altar which had been removed years  ago and placed in the lower church, has been restored and returned to the main  sanctuary, and parts of the former altar rails in the lower church have been used  to construct a new baptismal font and pulpit of white marble.  The church has been  made handicap accessible with access ramps and a rest room installed on the church  level.

Newly restored altar of St. Leonard's

Please send any articles, photos, or other information to:
Friar Joseph Lorenzo, OFM
St. Anthony Friary
24 Harrison Street    PO Box 487
Catskill NY 12414
Cell 917.337.9833


Recently Deceased Friars

F riar Juniper O'Connor, OFM

Friar Juniper passed into eternal life on Monday, November 27 at Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater, Florida.  At the time he was the Guardian of St. Paul Friary, Clearwater Beach.  He was 65 years old. Born Donald Andrew O'Connor, Friar Juniper was the son of the late Lina (Cusimano) and Andrew O'Connor, having been born in Hoboken, New Jersey on August 16, 1952. He is survived by his brothers, Andrew and Michael O'Connor, both of New Jersey. His wake was held at St. Anthony of Padua Church, New York City, on Thursday, November 30, and his Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Anthony's on Friday, December 1.  He is interred at Mount Alvernia Friary Cemetery, Wappingers Falls, NY.  May he rest in peace.

Friar Louis Diego DeTomasso
Friar Mark Brown
Friar Francis de Sales Paolo
Friar Norbert DeAmato
Friar Don Miller, OFM (St. John Baptist Province) who died December 12
Friar Aubrey McNeil, OFM (Holy Name Province) who died December 6
Friar Felix McGrath, OFM (Holy Name Province) who died November 13.
Friar Patrick Shea, OFM (Sacred Heart Province) who died September 29.

Recently Deceased Family
Matilda Zammit, mother of Friar Jimmy Zammit, OFM, 
who passed into eternal life  on December 11.
Guillermo Ruiz Lopez, father of Friar Orlando Ruiz, OFM, 
who passed into eternal life  on November 24.
Marian Intromasso, sister of Friar Paul Rotondi, OFM, 
who passed into eternal life on  November 20.
Richard Caprio, brother of Friar Robert Caprio, OFM, 
who passed into eternal life November  22.
Nicholas Tomsic, 29 years of age, great nephew of Friar Patrick Boyle, OFM,  who passed into eternal life on Thursday, October 19.
Lawrence Grech, brother of Friar Charles Grech, OFM, 
who passed into eternal life on November 17.
Friar Charles is a member of the Province of Malta and
is assigned to the staff of St. Jane Frances De Chantal in North York, Ontario.


Let us pray for  our infirm friars:
Friar Charles Soto
Friar Romano Almagno
Friar Robert Artman
Friar Flavian Mucci
Friar Clement Procopio

For our friars in skilled nursing facilities:
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Lucius Annese, OFM
Friar Giles Barreda, OFM
Friar Francis Hanudel, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM

For our infirm family and friends:
Joseph Almagno (brother of Friar Romano Almagno)
Astra Fernandes (mother of Friar Conrad Fernandes)
Gloria Salinas (mother of Friar Octavio Salinas)
Marie Caprio Sicuso (sister of Friar Robert Caprio)
Sheila Washburn (mother of Friar Thomas Washburn)
Please pray for all friars, families, friends, and benefactors,  living and deceased.